This book was sent to me from the author for review. The publisher is Maple Lane Books & you can buy the book on amazon. It’s currently free for kindleunlimited!
Marilyn Monroe wakes up inside the rust-colored brick walls of an extravagant mansion in Savannah, and is informed that it’s the year 2062. The young man who tells her this is Jeremiah Gold, whom Marilyn met just days ago in California, a century earlier. He quickly explains how he traveled back to 1962 in the time machine he invented, to save her from the death that would have otherwise overtaken her. At first Marilyn is unable to comprehend the truth, but as Jeremiah discovers that the news of her legendary demise is still mysteriously in place, she decides to align her trust in him. In time, the brazen blonde emerges out into the southern city, taking caution so that none of the citizens of Savannah recognize her. Marilyn knows it’s dangerous, but she can’t quench the urge she has to explore this futuristic world, regardless of the warnings Jeremiah gives her. What Happened to Marilyn is a time-bending novel that gives one of the most famous women in the world a shot at redemption. As she struggles to deal with her identity and her unfulfilled dreams, Marilyn wonders if she should stay with Jeremiah, or return to the past that will never let her go.
I think if you read my reviews, you can tell I love time travel stuff by now. This book does an amazing job with time-travel logic. It wasn’t confusing at all. Some might say the substance used to power Jeremiah’s time machine was a little unbelievable & cheesy, but I accepted it because it makes things simple & moves the story forward quickly.
Rigby renders Marilyn as a believable & fun character. She could’ve easily been botched in this representation, but instead I’m sure readers would find her magnetic. The parts where we get inside her head were some of my favorites. By the end, she becomes her own character & has the mostly fulfilled story arc.
Jeremiah, however, is the main character. Despite his emotionless, genius-like qualities, he was very likable in the beginning of the story. You’re able to buy into his reasoning quickly. Of course he needs to rescue Marilyn. It fit the character’s motivations & the plot.
There was a lot of head-hopping though. I’m frustrated with switches in POV without any indication such as fresh chapter starts. Plus there was no limit to whose head the reader sees inside. Almost every character has at least one moment where he/she is the main POV.
Also a small annoyance, but the diction was a little all over the place as well. When it was depicted as Southern, it worked really well, but sometimes it veered off course. For example, “____ ____ was the woman, the name that you seek,” doesn’t sound like it would come from the character that it did. It switched from more informal to standard to formal diction quite often.
My main problem was that the subplot about the characters’ parents eventually became the main plot at one point. I was interested, but it distracted from the main story & seemed like it was packing in too much. Potential suicides, sperm babies, gunpoint murders, there’s a lot going on.
I was originally upset with the romantic outcome of two of the characters (no spoilers!). But by the end, I was really pleased with how everything turned out. It was a very satisfying ending that felt right. The explanation for Marilyn’s death fit perfectly & I didn’t see it coming. (The first explanation Jeremiah almost decided upon would’ve annoyed me, I’m a huge fan of the Kennedys).
Plus the Southern setting was a nice change for me to read. I’ve been reading so many stories set in cities, this was a lot of fun. Rigby paints a vivid picture of big Southern houses & hot, fly-buzzing weather. Even though it blends different genres of sci-fi or historical fiction, I always felt the Southern vibes. Even in the future, it would seem like the place to keep old views & very outdated customs, such as Gilly’s character as the servant.
There’s a darker undertone throughout the story that makes it even more interesting & all the more satisfying when the tone lightens toward the end. The story could use a few more commas here & there, but overall it was a very enjoyable read. I definitely recommend it, especially if you’re a Marilyn Monroe fan. But even if you’re not (I’m more of an Audrey girl), you’ll love this rendition of her. Even though it’s around 300 pages, it’s a page-turner & a wonderfully quick read.